Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Landscaping for year-round color and hardy plant recommendations

I took a great landscaping class yesterday night - lord knows I need all the help I can get! It was offered through SCC and was called Mind the Gaps: Ensuring Year-Round Color. It was only $19 and was a little over two hours long.

The instructor had a ton of experience and did a nice job of identifying hardy plants that are good for our zone. I live in southeastern Nebraska so those of you in zone 5 should find this information helpful. Even if you live elsewhere, it's worth skimming over.

The instructor created a handy chart for us that lists which perennials, trees, shrubs, and vines are blooming in each month. Click on the image below to make it bigger. You may need to go to my Facebook or twitter pages, click on the photo, and then download it if it doesn't get large enough through the blog.

She only included plants that are easy to find and have a good track record.

I also listed the chart info below if you're having trouble viewing it...


Perennials: Crocus, snowdrops, iris reticulata, early daffodils, scilla

Trees: Maples, Magnolias

Shrubs: Forsythia, Pussy Willow


Perennials: bergenia, bloodroot,bluebells, columbine, crocus, daffodils,dwarf iris, forget-me-nots, groundcover phlox, hellebores, hyacinth,  iris reticulata,  merrybells, mukdenia, pulmanaria , prairie smoke,  speedwell, spring anemone, tulips, wild phlox

Trees: Magnolia, Peach, Crabapple, Buckeye, Pear, Redbud

Shrubs: Aronia, Azalea, Forsythia, Lilac, Quince, Viburnum


Perennials: allium,ajuga, baptisia,  bleeding heart,  brunnera, catmint, coral bell, cranesbill geranium, daisy,hespera, iris,lamium, pasque flower, prairie smoke, penstemon, peony,   poppies,  rose, salvia, speedwell, trillium

Trees: Buckeye, Crabapple, Dogwood, Horsechestnut

Shrubs: Azalea, Bridal Veil Spirea, Lilac, Rhododendron, Viburnum, Wigelia

Vines: Clematis


Perennials: Asiatic Lily, Allium, aruncus (goat's beard), bee balm, daisy, daylily, catmint, columbine, geramium, geum, knautia, larkspur, oriental lily, penstemon, rose, salvia,thalictrum, thermposis, trollius, veronica, yarrow

Trees: Lilac Trees, Catalpa

Shrubs: Hydrangea, Spirea

Vines: Honeysuckle


Perennials: Allium, Asiatic lily, bee balm, catmint, coneflower, coreopsis, daylily, geranium, gilardia, groundcover sedum, hosta, ligularia, phlox, rose, rudbeckia, russian sage, salvia, scabiosa, stokes aste

Shrubs: Bottlebrush Buckeye, Hydrangea, Spirea, St. John's Wort,  berries on Aronia

Vines: Honeysuckle


Perennials: Agastache, centranthus, coneflower, rudbekia, helenium, liatris, sunflower, salvia, catmint, scarlet gilia, tall sedum

Shrubs: caryopteris, hydrangea, berries on aronia and viburnum

Vines: Sweet Autumn Clematis


Perennials: Aster, Chrysanthemum

Trees: Seven Son Flower (she talked really highly of this tree!)

Shrubs: caryopteris, hydrangea


Perennials: Fall color on bluestar amsonia, hosta, fern, mukdenia, peony,  and bloodred geramium

Trees: Fall color on sugar maple, blackgum,  kousa dogwood, bald cypress, red maple, sourwood, sasssafrass, sweetgum, japanese maples

Shrubs: Fall Color on brandywine viburnum, winterthur viburnum, barberry,sumac, spicebush, chokeberry, virginia sweetspire, oak-leaf hydrangea, bottlebrush buckeye, clethra, ogon spirea, hydrangea paniculatas

November and December

Perennials: Some perennials persist into fall and winter. Coral Bells, hellebores, & wild ginger often look good for much of winter.  Another way to continue interest from your perennials is to not cut all of them all to the ground in the fall.  I like to leave plants that have strong stems like coneflowers and goldenrod.  They look great with a little frost or light dusting of snow.

Trees: Interesting bark on amur bird cherry, bald cypress, beech, birch, blackgum, kousa dogwood, lacebark elm, paperbark maple, seven son flower, stewartia, sycamore

Shrubs: Interesting bark on harry lauders walking stick, oakleaf hydrangea, yellow and redtwig dogwood.  Have berries: cotoneasters, holly,  firethorn, winterberry.  WitchHazel blooms in the winter.  Evergreens give you a spot of color and life.

Vines: Honeysuckle, wisteria and trumpet vines have a nice structure that should be left intact.


Extedend interest in the perennial garden regardless of blooms by focusing on foliage. Combine different leaf colors including: greens, blues, yellows, reds and silvers to have impact during the entire growing season along with different textures and sizes. Plant ferny (soft fluffy textures) foliage, big bold leaves, curly leaves, cut edges. There is even foliage with polkadots (pulminaria).  If carefully planned you could have a gorgoeus garden without a single bloom.

All credit goes to Shelley Stoltenberg (the instructor and garden advisor). If you want her contact info, please let me know and I'll get it to you. She's great!

I hope you found this useful. Happy landscaping!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Build your own bar with faux granite countertop

Good morning! Well about as good as it can get for a Monday ;) A lot of you have seen pictures of our basement bar, but I never got around to doing an actual tutorial. This post is mostly about how to create a faux granite countertop like what I did in my kitchen, but I wanted to include some pictures of the bar before as well.